New Zealand vs England: First OD Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

We preview the first ODI between New Zealand and England set to take place at Seddon Park on Sunday 25 February. 

New Zealand and England admittedly under-performed in the recent trans-Tasman T20I series with Australia - and will battle through the first of five ODIs, which precede two Tests.

Both are jostling for position toward the top of the rankings for ODI teams, with England placed third to New Zealand's fourth - and want to gain ground on first-placed India and second-placed South Africa.


New Zealand v England | Sunday, 25 February | Seddon Park, Hamilton | 3:00

To Win Match
New Zealand 5/4
Tie 35/1
England 67/100

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New Zealand
The Kiwis have won their last eight consecutive ODIs, including series clean sweeps over Pakistan and the West Indies late last and earlier this year, and certainly look the form team of the two. Their squad is packed with powerful batsman, including the resurgent Martin Guptill, who is brimming with confidence on the back of a superb T20I tri-series campaign.

Mitchell Santner and Todd Astle are injury concerns, but have been included in the squad regardless. Ish Sodhi has also been drafted, but won't be the first named penned for the playing XI if Santner and Astle play. The Kiwis' major bowling strength, of course, will be derived from the seam combination of Tim Southee and Trent Boult - and complemented by pace ace Lockie Ferguson.

Seth Rance and George Worker have been deemed surplus to requirement - understandably so. New Zealand's experimentation with fringe personnel was only going to extend so far, before the first-choice players took centre stage for this challenging affair against the English. If not Guptill, then Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson are really going to have to step up.

Hamilton's Seddon Park has not been a happy hunting ground for the New Zealanders, whose last 24 ODIs here have resulted in just 13 victories. They were at the venue about a month ago, when Colin de Grandhomme stole victory from the proverbial jaws of defeat against the Pakistanis. de Grandhomme's late-order hitting then, showed exactly what's possible in pursuit now. The toss result at this stadium, then, isn't as important as at others.

 YESWENA

England
Plenty of focus will be on whether or not England play Ben Stokes in the series opener and, indeed, the rest of the series. He has all but been cleared to participate as the consequences of his September 2017 brawl in Bristol draw near. If he plays, the tourists will relish and immediate boost to their batting and bowling ranks - both of which were evidently light during the tri-series.

Elsewhere, Craig Overton has been added to the squad after Liam Plunkett was sidelined by injury. This is not an ideal like-for-like replacement, as Plunkett would have offered more experience and clever variations in conducive New Zealand conditions, but Overton will be able to pick up where he left off in the Ashes nonetheless. He might even be afforded the new ball alongside Mark Wood.

Plenty of pressure, meanwhile, will sit on the shoulders of Adil Rashid and Alex Hales. The former has effectively turned his back on red-ball cricket and the latter is on the brink of doing so, too. Forsaking Test match ambition for limited-overs longevity is a big call by both of them - and now they must vindicate their decisions with good performances against strong opposition, consistently.

England comfortably outdid Australia in their recent bilateral series, but will face a considerably stauncher challenge against a New Zealand outfit far more settled with their ODI gameplans - and unstoppable at home recently. They won a series in the Land of the Long White Cloud in 2013, fighting back from an early deficit, and some have tipped them to repeat this.

Verdict: New Zealand 5/4
The home side have a lot more going for them than their visitors, who are also sweating on the fitness of Eoin Morgan. Stokes' return could flip this all on its head, though, if he really bounces back strongly.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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